Spacefem (spacefem) wrote,
Spacefem
spacefem

Educated

It took me way too long to read Educated by Tara Westover! It was a bestseller in, what... 2018? A MILLION YEARS AGO. And I heard about it early too, I was lucky to be in a fledgling new toastmasters club for a while with the best ever community of artists, readers, makers, and we had a librarian. Yes, a real life professional librarian whose job it was to pick books and do librarian things. She did a whole speech on this book, and I was like eh I'll get to it, then I heard Tara Westover interviewed on Fresh Air and thought well now I know her story because she talked for an hour so I don't have to read the book.

But THE BOOK is so good! It's a memoir, this girl is born into a fundamentalist survivalist family, the youngest of 7 children. They don't believe in school because that's where the government brainwashes children to be socialists, they don't believe in doctors, they all work in a scrapyard salvaging metal and picking up occasional construction gigs as her brothers get older. any extra money they earn goes towards stockpiling gold, food, and ammunition for the end of times. they are genuinely SHOCKED when society doesn't crumble after Y2K, but still certain that the apocalypse is just around the corner.

three main things drive her away:
1) her father seems to have no regard for safety, the kids are cut or burned or suffer falls in the scrapyard and every injury is treated with herbs and salves.
2) she hears a CD of the Mormon tabernacle choir and realize that there might be something beautiful out there that takes study and discipline. She likes singing, she is talented at it, but realizes that some education may be needed if she's going to direct a church choir someday.
3) finally, the biggest thing, one of her brothers is a textbook serial abuser. she fears for her life and taking the ACT to get into college is a way out, even if her family hates the idea.

This has got to be one of my favorite book genres... escaping from religious fundamentalism! This young woman has never heard of napoleon, bob marley, the civil rights movement, the holocaust, her whole life has been defined by her father's TOTAL CERTAINTY that he knows the absolute truth about everything, boosted up by her mother's obedient compromises. She slowly realizes that multiple perspectives are needed to understand truth, that people can lie to themselves, that the world is very big and complicated and worth being a part of. She gets vaccinated. She takes ibuprofen. She accepts a government grant for school. All of these things are huge leaps that take a lot of work to get to, because she's been spiritually abused her entire life and thinks all of these things are evil socialist plots that a true believer must not buy in to. Her dad things milk is a sin.

sadly, her family takes the abusive brother's side, ostracizing tara even to this day. her recent pieces and interviews are about understanding. how we can't "other" rural America, they need resources, they need our help, otherwise they just go further and further apart, separate, and we can never understand each other. the divide just grows.
Tags: books
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  • 13 comments

  • Riding with Spacekid2

    Olive is a bike rider! This one took some EFFORT. She was scared. I encouraged her to try when she was 6 — but no way. We left the training wheels…

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